While Spain, in fact, the whole of Europe, has been occupied with economic matters, political developments in the most gruesome past time the country has to offer, have been equally grim.
A friend of mine who has lived in Barcelona for some twenty years warned me in November last year, ‘if the PP (People’s Party) regains power, you’ll see, bullfighting is back on the agenda in no time. ‘
And she was right. In a recent speech the minister of culture, José Ignacio Wert, declared bullfighting an ‘artistic discipline and cultural product’ that has to be protected. By that, obviously, he just confirmed the policy of the previous (socialist) government headed by Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.
It comes to no surprise that the government under prime minister Mariano Rajoy , who’s centre right PP won a landslide victory in last November’s general election, announced its support for the gruesome activity.
But still, can politicians completely ignore what has happened over the last couple of years? In other words the declining support for bullfighting over the last years and the ban on the corrida in Catalonia which came into force last month.
We all knew that, despite this huge victory, we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that there is still a long way ahead of us. It was clear that Spain wouldn’t ban bullfighting countrywide the following day. In fact, not anytime soon.
But there was this, well what was it actually? It was more than hope, it might have even been a modest expectation that the ban would be a symbol, an encouragement for campaigners in the whole of Spain and a sign to politicians that bullfighting is not something the vast majority of the population wants. And that they, as the elected representatives, should do something about it. Or at least, start stopping every moral and financial support for it.
It now seems that ruling politicians have chosen to continue ignoring the will of the majority of the Spanish people who have said time and again that they oppose bullfighting, or at least are not interested in it. Given the difficult economic time many Spaniards go through at the moment, at least any financial support for bullfighting can hardly be justified, as Maria Esteban of “La Tortura No Es Cultura” (Torture Is Not Culture), an important coalition of anti-bullfighting organisations, emphasises:
“At a time when Spain is in financial crisis and experiencing unemployment that has soared beyond 20%, a majority of the population also opposes subsidizing the bullfighting industry […]”.
This development is bad and it is worrying. Yet, it can only mean that we have to continue our fight and remind politicians what they are doing is wrong. BBB will look into ways to help you to contact the Spanish and European politicians directly and so increase the pressure on them to stop their support, and particularly any subsidies for bullfighting. We keep you posted.